ERIC Number: ED381790
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Aesthetics in Writing Assessment, or a Student's Essay about a Poem is Itself a Work of Art.
Stephen Tchudi, among others, argues that the distinction between expository writing and creative writing is finally a false distinction. Louise Rosenblatt explains that whether readers are reading creative writing or expository writing, they expect the experience of reading to provide them with both information and pleasure. A corollary of these arguments is that students learning to write essays about literature need to have an aesthetic purpose for writing as well as an informative one. The subjects of this experiment were college sophomore students taking a course in writing about literature. As part of a revision they were asked to make their essays more pleasing--more pleasing to the instructor. In other words, their revised essays were to include three specific features: a precise use of words, conspicuousness of ideas, and a balanced arrangement of ideas. To illustrate the aesthetic function of these features, the instructor used poetry and painting. Leaving certain words out of Robert Frost's "The Need of Being Versed in Country Things," the instructor passed out the poem and asked students to supply the missing words; later he compared their choices with Frost's more precise ones. Then, using a series of paintings including John Constable's "The Haywain" and Philip Evergood's "The Sunny Side of the Street," he illustrated the concepts of balance and focus. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Writing about Literature
Note: Paper presented at the National Council of Teachers of English Spring Conference (Minneapolis, MN, March 16-18, 1995).